Cyclone Remal: Closure of Kolkata airport causes surge in airfares 

Cyclone Remal: Closure of Kolkata airport causes surge in airfares 

Cyclone Remal: Closure of Kolkata airport causes surge in airfares 

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The 21-hour shutdown of Kolkata airport due to Cyclone Remal sparked a scramble for tickets and sent airfares soaring. Passengers faced high prices and limited options for flights out of the city on Sunday. The airport was closed from noon on Sunday to 9 am on Monday, leading to a dramatic rise in ticket prices and a rush to secure seats.

Between midnight and 12:16 pm on Sunday, 12,833 passengers left Kolkata aboard 71 flights, while 10,283 passengers arrived on 63 flights. 

Most vacant seats were booked on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Air India offered the quickest travel option to Chennai, albeit with a detour through Mumbai, costing Rs 79,403 at 7:30 am. 

By this time, nearly all direct flights to major cities were fully booked, leaving only a few available seats on Air India and its associate carriers Vistara and Air India Express, at extremely high prices.

By 7:30 am on Sunday, there were no viable flights to Hyderabad. Limited seats on a direct Vistara flight to Delhi, priced at Rs 33,458, were quickly booked, causing the fare to rise to Rs 39,663 on an Air India flight. A few seats on a direct Air India flight to Mumbai were available for Rs 33,340, and an Air India Express direct flight to Bengaluru had seats for Rs 19,883.

Air India also had seats to Guwahati for Rs 20,193, but there were no options for Bagdogra. Airport officials noted a rare sight of people queuing at the departure level booths, as most bookings are now made online. An official remarked, “When people reached the counter, they were either shocked at the fare or learned that there was no flight option.”

The last flight to depart on Sunday was an IndiGo flight to Bengaluru at 12:16 pm, and the last flight to arrive was an IndiGo aircraft from Varanasi more than an hour earlier. Many passengers, unaware of the closure, arrived at the airport only to be turned away. 

One passenger, booked on a flight to Bagdogra, shared their frustration: “I didn’t get any message about the closure. I reached the airport with my family of three only to learn that operations were suspended. They have rescheduled me on a flight two days later.”

Nine flights scheduled to depart from Kolkata before noon were cancelled as airlines reallocated the carriers to other sectors.